What's Hot With Jazz Guitar: Sid Jacobs

It is a privilege for me to do a column on my friend Sid Jacobs. I met Sid at John Pisano's Guitar Night here in LA, and we became friends soon after. Sid comes down to my gigs and sits in from time (a real kick in pants for me, I might add), and his playing always leaves a great impression with all that hear him.

Sid Jacobs is an incredible jazz guitar talent, with unbelievable chops and technique, fine melodic sense, an exceptional knowledge of jazz music and of the jazz guitar repertoire. He is also an accomplished teacher and clinician with several instruction books and a video available.

From Sid's online bio:

Sid Jacobs was born in Miami Beach, Florida. Sid spent his first few years in Havana, Cuba prior to the revolution, after which, the Jacobs family returned to Miami. It is there, at the age of seven, he began his fascination with the guitar. When his family moved to Nevada, Sid obtained a position as guitar instructor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. This made him, at eighteen, the youngest faculty member in the school's music department.

After moving to Los Angeles he developed the curriculum for the Advanced Bebop and Jazz Guitar course at the Dick Grove School and the Jazz Guitar class at the Musicians Institute (MI and GIT), where he continues to teach.

In 1991, his CD It's Not Goodnight was released. It is a straight-ahead blowing session featuring his original compositions. In 1998 Sid was the first North American jazz guitarist invited to perform in Argentina's "Guitars of the World" festival. In May of 2001 he was invited to perform at the Ankara Music Festival in Turkey.

Some of the jazz artists with whom he has performed include Harold Land, Eddie Harris, Buddy Montgomery, Joe Diorio, Brad Mehldau, Larry Goldings and Javon Jackson.

Reviewing a live performance, Los Angeles Times jazz critic Don Heckman described him as "...a highly articulate improviser, Never at a loss for a new phrase, his improvisations seemed to unfold with the ever-changing fascination of a set of Bach variations...". Dr. Joe Barth in Just Jazz Guitar magazine says, "...Sid is one of the most sophisticated players I've ever heard. He is a champion of musical textures that are complex, engaging, and musically satisfying..."

He has been featured in Guitar Player magazine and is on the cover of the August 2001 issue of Just Jazz Guitar magazine. His Complete Book of Jazz Guitar Lines and Phrases, book and CD from MelBay Publications, is considered ' a thorough exploration of modern jazz vocabulary.' Jazz Guitar Improvisation, a book and CD from Hal Leonard Publications, is based on his course for GIT (Musicians Institute). Guitar Player magazine writes, "This package is deep" and a review in Just Jazz Guitar says, "I cannot praise this work too highly".

In a recent LA Times review, Don Heckman said, "translating the work of Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk into the language of the guitar is not easy but Jacobs did it with an easy fluency." Jazz Guitar Improvisation, the video, is being prepared for a November release from Hal Leonard Publications, and The Bill Evans Guitar Book, a book and CD of fourteen Evans compositions adapted for guitar, is in production with Hal Leonard Publications.

Along with writing and teaching, Sid continues to tour, performing and conducting jazz guitar workshops.

Check out Sid Jacobs' website and the sound clips of his Bill Evans transcriptions here: http://www.sidjacobs.com/

Doc Dosco is a jazz guitarist, composer and audio consultant living in Los Angeles, CA. His website is located at http://www.docdosco.com, where you can find more information on the 'What's Hot in Jazz Guitar' columns, audio clips of Doc's playing, and many additional features. Doc plays Heritage guitars and endorses the new Pignose Valve Tube Amps -- great for jazz (and anything else!)

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